Once upon a time, I lived in New York City, directed America’s largest beverage program and drank wine everyday and every night. It was a wonderful life, one I continue to think about but one I know will never be found again.
It was surreal, actually. Dining at Daniel for lunch with Jean Arnold and Ed Lauber, drinking mead served by Paul Grieco at Gramercy Tavern, going to the Hog Pit for beer and barbecue with Jeremy Seysses of Domaine Dujac, how do you convey the absolute grandness of all of these events? My mother called me a hedonist. My friends marveled at my fortune. It really was the most amazing time of my life.
The time did not last forever, and of course, we all know how true these words are. My time in Manhattan ended, and I eventually came back to Tarboro, my hometown of 10,000 people where the only wine people really enjoyed was the pink stuff from the tap. Please don’t be offended by this comment, it was what stayed in my parents’ refrigerator my entire college career.
People probably believed my wine ambitions to be gone by the wayside now that my contact with the real wine world was far away. Out of sight, out of mind. Not for sale, not for sipping.
Oh, the irony! The irony that only people in the wine and food business understand. All of my loyal friends who were sommeliers, restaurateurs, distributors and the like remained true to their word and true to our friendship. They are all only a phone call or an email away, and each time I visit them in the city, they are ready to greet me with arms open and wide smiles.
People often forget the value of relationships. People often take for granted that a genuine smile, complement or handshake speaks millions. It isn’t always about wine, lest we forget. It’s about being true to yourself and true to your friends.
I no longer live in New York or run a large and fancy beverage program. No, instead, I live in the town where I grew up, run my own restaurant and try to raise two children whom I adore. I also try very hard to be a good wife.
It isn’t glamorous, and I probably will never be a millionaire, but I have learned the value of relationships and I have learned you can make anything happen as long as you love what you’re doing and love who you’re with.